In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, celery, carrot, onion, bay leaf and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the water, ham hock and drained beans and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the ham hock from the stew and chop the meat; discard the bones, skin and gristle. Discard the bay leaf. Add the ham hock meat to the beans, season with salt and pepper and serve with Sautéed Mustard Greens and Garlic Mayonnaise.
The stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
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